For food and wine tours Italy, this is the best of Italy. From my recent 6 week travels across Italy, most importantly I have compiled a best of list, for those wanting to travel for wine and food, and the Italian Lifestyle. Italian cheese is the best in the world, therefore there is mentions from matured pecorino to maggot matured cheese.
Best Cheese Experience 1 Discovering Squacquerone. With Romagna origins this amazing creamy cheese made from cows milk from Emilia Romagna is excellent as a cheese combined with cured meats but served as a main dish with figs marinated in Balsamic is exquisite.
2 Gorgonzola . Some say Gorgonzola was first produced in the town of Gorgonzola, near Milan, in the year 879 AD. Others say it was first produced in Pasturo nella Valsassina, a great cheese-making area for centuries, due to the presence of excellent natural caves where the average temperature is constantly between 6°C and 12°C. Lombardy and Piedmont regions are renowned for quality Gorgonzola.
Best Accommodation in a B & B. Chez Papa in Ravenna. I have stayed in a lot of B & B’s but this place was a stand out. From design, tranquility, service, facilities, and staff, i could not fault anything.
Best Attraction. FICO in Bologna. Part of Eataly World. 100000 sq mts of production and promotion of Italy’s diverse range of food products. For Foodies and those wanting an education in the Italian Lifestyle this is the easiest way to get an overview in a limited time . Allow 4 hours.
Best Foodie Event. Terra Madre. Turin. More than 900 artisanal farmers, producers from all over Italy gather for a display of their products. Promoted by Slow Food & most of the presidia are on display here. There was a mix of workshops, taste sessions, covering cheese, oils, Pasta, Balsamic, Honey, Pane, Salumi, Wine, Beer and everything else that is produced in this wonderful country.
Best Farm production experience Visiting Parmigiana Reggiano Production. Be early to see the actual production of that days milk into the first stage of a long journey to the amazing matured product.
Best town visited Parma. This place has a vibrancy and style. Also has some great little non touristy gems for foodies. Some really good museums related to production of Local products like cheese and balsamic.
Best Farmers Markets. 1; Porta Palazzo in Turin for history and size. 800 stalls. and the largest open air market in Europe. Sits on 4 corners of a piazza, with fruit and vegetables, on one side, deli stalls on another, and fish on the other.
2; Mercato Centrale in Firenze. Always a buzz, and showcasing a wide range of artisanal product, predominantly from Tuscany, with a selection from other regions as well. Also has a cooking school. This market place is action packed from about noon every day, and although the markets wind down by about five the the food stalls keep going until about 9 pm. The other market worth a look, is Sant’Ambrogio, this is where the locals shop.
Best Aperitivo Bar Soul Kitchen in Florence. & Grand-Italia Lounge Bar in Ravenna, and top end for wines served at Aperitivo time was SardOa in Alghero
Best Slow Food dining So hard to choose. here are two of many that I have reviewed.; 1 Trattoria Cavour in Alghero, & Locanda Buatino in Lucca.
Best Traditional Trattoria. Trattoria Da Zia Luciana Siddi in Sardinia. This was an experience of “OMG how good is this” proportions. Finding the place firstly, then sharing the history and the story of this amazing lady, Luciana and her husband Gianni, in their 24 seat trattoria.
Best Wine Bar. Vinattiere Zanobini in Florence. & Tabarro in Parma. With a mention to SardOa in Alghero in Sardinia.
Best Seafood Tapas Dining Banco32 in Bologna. Does lunch and dinner, based on seafood, with the menu changing daily. It sits on the side of the Mercato delle Erbe.
Best Wine experience for me on this trip. Novara in the Piedmont region. This will feature in our new tour in 2019, so sign up for more information.
Best Celebration Festival Sagra Delle Castagne Aritzo The Chestnut festival. These festivals take place across Italy in the autumn months and we were lucky enough to share the celebration in Aritzo on Sardinia.
Best New Winery. Su’entu in Sanluri. Sardinia.
Best Agriturismo experience. Sa Mandra in Alghero. Sardinia.. A stunning dining experience within an excellent agriturismo.
Best new tour. Flavours of Sardinia.